As our world continues to destabilize, self-survival and protection are more crucial than ever. While the Second Amendment gives us the right to secure our homes physically, the modern age has brought a plethora of complex threats to our privacy and security.
We are living in digital times, and this comes with a unique set of advantages and disadvantages. Information can be accessed in a matter of seconds, but when we connect to the internet, our location, personal details and other data are exposed to a myriad of prying eyes. Similarly, bureaucracy is at an all-time high, and our private information is in the hands of countless organizations. And there is very little we can do to stop this.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t do anything, and the first step is to understand the problem. It’s essential to take note of these seven privacy threats if you want to keep you and your family safe as the digital age advances.
1. Identity Theft
If you’re a U.S. citizen with no criminal record, then your information will fetch a hefty price on the black market. Cybercriminals can use your online activity to replicate your identity. If this doesn’t gain them immediate access to your bank account, they will use your details to commit fraud. In the past six years, $107 billion has been lost to identity theft, so it’s essential to take yourself out of the firing line.
One of the biggest reasons for so much crime is public WiFi hotspots. These open networks allow all your data to fly around unprotected. Any fellow user can intercept it, and dedicated criminals even set up rogue hotspots specifically for farming your data. Either avoid connecting when in public, or use the alternative options mentioned below.
2. Government Snooping
A secure home network complete with a firewall will keep you safe from most cyberthreats, as long as you stringently avoid public WiFi. However, there is one type of cybercriminal that has more power at its fingertips: Uncle Sam. The fact the government is spying on our activity is no longer a secret—the Snowden leaks have shown us all the importance of maintaining personal security.
By far the best method to keep you and your family private online is using a proxy network. Doing this reroutes your data through a remote server, which encrypts all your information and allows you to appear anonymous online.
Online warfare has yet to fully manifest itself. However, we’re already seeing sneak peeks of the potential disaster. While different hacks around the world have proven the ease with which experienced cybercriminals can shut down networks, terrorist groups have already begun to dabble. ISIS and Al Qaeda are both known for their hacking activity, and the former has even been found to use the internet to identify and watch potential high-value targets.
Fortunately, it’s also easy to resolve this problem using the proxy service mentioned above. As even the most experienced hackers have yet to find a way to bypass encryption software, these downloadable networks are still your best and first defense.
4. Sign-Up Data
In the modern world, signing up for anything is becoming increasingly complicated. Whether you’re subscribing to an online blog or applying for a job, your personal data regularly finds its way into the hands of strangers. Even establishments you would automatically trust, such as your company benefit program, have been clocked for their failure to ensure industry security standards.
Your best defense against this privacy threat is to stay informed. Before you sign-up for anything, check the company policy to establish where your information might end up. Some industry standards, such the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, prohibit data sharing. Opting for companies with this kind of policy in place will drastically reduce the risk of your information falling into the wrong hands.
- Garbage GoldminesWhile the virtual world has become a veritable goldmine for criminals after our data, it’s not the only area where we are at risk. Our privacy is threatened in some improbable places – the most notable of which is in our trash. Every letter we receive, even junk mail, often has personal details criminals find valuable. By accumulating multiple sources of information, they can completely replicate your identity.
Fortunately, once you’re aware of this threat, it’s relatively easy to solve. There are many ways to dispose of your mail that will hide your identity. A good choice is to use a shredder, or you can burn the paper if you have a fire pit!
6. The Patriot Act
While the Patriot Act has provided our government a platform to go after terrorists, it’s also had a more destructive result; allowing authorities to act outside the law in the name of terrorism has destroyed a significant component of our human rights. Now, we can be detained, our property can be seized and our data can be impounded, all without any formal charge. We don’t even have to be linked to a terrorist organization to be liable for accusation and action.
We have already seen this threat come to life, as reports of government surveillance of the Trump campaign surfaced prior to his presidency. If our politicians aren’t safe, then how can we trust the government with our own privacy? This harrowing turn of events only reinforces the need for self-reliance. It’s essential to take security and survival into our own hands, as authorities clearly cannot be trusted.
7. Targeted Advertising
Targeted advertising has long been a threat to our privacy, but in 2017, it’s everywhere! Not only do search engines record your activity to generate personalized ads, but some TV boxes even target commercial breaks to the profile of the household. It’s alarming to think seemingly insignificant things, such as our viewing and browsing habits, are being collected to manipulate the media we see. Not only is this a threat to our privacy, but it also raises several ethical questions. Is restricting the information we see a violation of our freedoms? Do advertisers have the right the make these decisions for us?
Unfortunately, it’s difficult to opt-out of targeted advertising. Each browser and service provider you use will have their own system for restricting personalization. Stopping Google Ads is a great first step. However, truly freeing yourself from this privacy invasion will take time and research and may not even be entirely possible.
The age of the internet has changed everything. Now, all real survivalists must be aware of threats from numerous angles. However, knowledge is still the key to power, and understanding these seven privacy risks will help you secure your family from harm.
Be sure to leave a comment if you can think of any other points that deserve mention.
About the Author: Sandra is a truth-warrior who works as a blogger to tell the story that the mainstream media ignores. She believes we are living in a time of high uncertainty and that it’s down to the everyday American to stand up for our country and its future.